How to Handle Conflict with Your Nursing Faculty

No matter the circumstances, conflict is always uncomfortable. It would be fabulous if we could see eye to eye all of the time. Unfortunately, we will encounter conflict at one point or another. Finding yourself in conflict with your nursing faculty can lead to a whole new level of stress.  Nursing programs are notoriously rigorous (with good reason) but what if you find yourself in disagreement with your faculty about a course policy or a grade? What should you do to solve the issue quickly and maintain a solid working relationship with your faculty? Read on for tips on how to handle conflict with your nursing faculty.

Keep Calm

handle conflict nursing facility
Easier said than done in many cases! It can be very difficult to remain calm when handling conflict with your nursing faculty. It can feel like so much is riding on the outcome and there usually is. Grades can affect success in the course or program and even financial aid. Course policies (late work, attendance, etc) can have a big impact on how grades are determined.  The best thing you can do is to stay calm so that you can approach your faculty with a clear mind.

Be specific

When a problem arises, it is helpful for everyone involved if you are very specific about the issue needing to be resolved. Instead of stating, “I disagree with the grade I was given,” you might try adding specific details to your concern. What is it that you don’t agree with? The grading methods? How the assignment was scored? Use the course materials to present your case. Letting the instructor know the exact cause of your concern will allow them to appropriately explain or work with you to solve the conflict.

Tell the Truth

conflict with your nursing faculty

Lying is never a good thing.  Own up to any contributions you may have made in the problem causing the conflict. If you haven’t been studying or showing up to class on time, don’t say that you have or that you do. This just escalates the issue. Be honest when you handle conflict with your nursing faculty to reach a satisfactory conclusion and preserve your ability to work together toward your educational goals.


Dealing with conflict with your nursing faculty is a two-way street. You want to be treated fairly and with respect. Therefore, you should be treating your faculty with respect as well. If communicating in person, remember to keep calm (see above) and do not yell or act in an irrational manner. If communicating by e-mail, as we so often do these days, refrain from using all caps as if you are yelling or being unprofessional in your tone. If you are feeling really heated, try writing your e-mail and saving it for a day or two before you decide to send it. After you have had a chance to cool off, re-read the e-mail and make changes as needed to keep the tone professional.

Know the Policy

Most universities have a grievance policy. If you have approached your instructor and still cannot come up with a satisfactory resolution to your conflict, follow the steps in the process as laid out by the college policy. Know who to contact and what documentation you will need.

Conflict is always unpleasant but by using these tips to handle conflict with your nursing faculty, you will be able to better approach the situation. At the end of the day, what you are really after is a solution to the problem. It might not always be the solution you want but as long as you are working toward a solution, keeping calm, respectful, truthful, and specific will take you far in handling conflict with your nursing faculty. Check out this post for more information on working with you nursing faculty.